RWU Sailing Claims First Place at College Sailing Team Race National Championship

At the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Open Team Race National Championship, RWU came out on top against teams from Harvard University, Yale University, and Brown University.

The RWU Sailing Team posing for a photo on a dock
The RWU Sailing team celebrates after taking home the Open Team Race National title, after placing first at the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Open Team Race National Championship on April 27.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Roger Williams University took home the Open Team Race National title after placing first at the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Open Team Race National Championship hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, held April 25-27. 

Following three days of competition on the Charles River, the RWU Sailing team completed the regatta with an 18-4 record on the year, claiming their title by edging out hosts Harvard University who finished with a record of 17.5-4. Senior Aidan Hoogland, from Chula Vista, Calif., sophomore Carlos Bermudez de Castro, from La Coruna, Spain, and sophomore Kyle Pfrang, from Suffolk, Va., skippered the Hawks with crew senior Michaela O'Donnell, from Elyria, Ohio, junior Carly Kiss, from Pewaukee, Wis., and junior Claire Buckley, from Bridgewater, Conn. 

“Our team has worked incredibly hard all year, and everything came together for us at the most important time,” said RWU Sailing Head Coach Amanda Callahan. “Our entire roster supported their races against three top programs – all Ivies – during the final rounds, and you could hear their cheers and bells up and down the Charles.”

The team was in second place heading into the final day of competition with Harvard losing half a point due to boat damage. The regatta's scheduled final four was called off as the multiple days of low wind forced the regatta to end after the Round of Eight, with RWU holding the lead.
Yale University placed third in the event, and Brown University closed out in fourth.

As part of team racing, races are run with two teams competing in three boats each so a total of six boats are on the course. Using sailing tactics for speed and the rules of sailing for strategy, each team tries to get the lowest combined score of their three boats, ideally finishing first, second, and third. Boats may “block,” or force opponents to sail further distances, allowing their teammates to finish sooner.

“The Sailing team had an amazing win this weekend,” said Kiki Jacobs, Director of Athletics, Intramurals, and Recreation at RWU. “The team came together and did their best sailing when it counted. It was great to see all of the support from teammates, alumni, and current and former parents in Cambridge. It shows that Roger Williams University can compete at the highest level.”

Members of the RWU community have been sharing their excitement.

“This is an awesome achievement,” said W. Brett McKenzie, Professor Emeritus, who formerly served as the Sailing Team representative. "Congratulations to the competitors, the rest of the team who made them such fierce competitors, and Coach Callahan who honed their skills and under whose leadership the RWU Sailing Team has become nationally ranked.”

In 2018, 2021, and 2022, the Sailing team finished in second place at the ICSA Open Team Race National Championship.